Dome houses have been around for thousands of years. A dome is a very sturdy structure with minimal surface area and lots of interior space. Geodesic dome construction is now more accessible and viable than ever. You can easily build a dome using a combination of at-home 3d printing, modern plastics, and simple materials. Most of these materials can be acquired from Lowes, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, and other building supply stores.
The dome described in this how to build a DIY geodesic dome house guide is a very new design at the time of writing this article. We have built them and distributed the technology as hobbyists, but we have not performed any kind of safety testing. While we can talk about geodesic dome construction in a general sense; it is important to realize that the structures built in this guide are made with very lightweight building materials. We believe them to be a comfortable and relatively strong structure that potentially meets the needs of many. Please read everything with a discerning eye, especially when partaking in a multi-thousand dollar project.
The most important step of building a geodesic dome house happens last but without it, you will not have a waterproof structure. This final important step is the application of SPF roofing foam and it is to be done by a professional. SPF is an expensive roofing material that is re-enforcing and allows us to use strong plastic panels to construct our dome rather than a material such as marine plywood that might bare loads, staples, or nails.
This is where SPF foam roofing comes in. SPF foam roofing is a dense closed-cell polyurethane spray system often used on commercial roofs and other projects. At the time of reading this, I believe SPF roofing is more expensive per-square-foot than shingles or metal roofing.
Here is are some PROS of tiny geodesic dome houses:
- If your dome has a compressive panel system you will gain substantial structural strength even when using lightweight building materials.
- Domes are a very fulfilling project. The worlds best selling AirBNB is a tiny dome house in a small town named Aptos.
Here are some CONS of tiny geodesic dome houses:
- The maximum size is limited. If you want the center of your panels to withstand the force of someone large leaning on them, you will want to re-enforce your dome if the floor space is greater larger than 120 square feet. There are many creative ways you can do this, but it is always important to refer to local and national building codes when getting ready to partake in any construction project.
Here is our material list with the appropriate links of where to buy each item:
- (Quantity 20) Insulation Foam Board (4’x8′) Product on HomeDepot.com <- Direct Link
These foam boards have amazing compressive strength when they are used to build a geodesic dome. They will be used for the panels.
- (Quantity 2) Drywall screw pack (1LB) on HomeDepot.com <- Direct Link
- (Quantity 1) Geodesic dome frame kit made for 1×2 Lumber Thingiverse <- Direct Link
The geodesic dome kit at the link above is not your standard home depot product link. It is a file for creating the angle-guides needed to make this dome. But don’t worry! you can upload the contents (the *.stl files) to this website and they will print them for you and send them to you. Get an instant quote. If you are familiar to 3d-printing you can easily print a set of those connectors using a Monoprice-mini 3d printer, and about $30 of PETG filament. The instructions on making the frame of the geodesic dome are in the above link to Thingiverse or you can get them here in a PDF. The author sells them at a very discounted rate and their contact information is on the page.
The instructions for making the dome are relatively simple. Follow the instructional pdf on how to create your geodesic dome frame and then cut polystyrene panels to fit in the gaps. You can simply have one person hold a foam-panel over the frame gaps while somebody else stencils the triangle with a sharpie. Then score those drawn edges with a razor and snap off the edges. Another razor-less option is to get an affordable foam cutter on amazon here. Once your foam panels are in place glue them in using gap-filling foam. For the door, we simply created an extra-dome sub-section with the connectors and attached it using an affordable random hinge-set from home-depot that has three metal hinges.
Windows are relatively easy. We recommend getting some cheap plexiglass pieces and putting them over cut-holes and securing them to the structure using Flex Tape or the Gorilla brand equivalent which costs half as much.
Cover anything you don’t want to be encased in SPF foam forever, and let the professionals cover the structure. What you will be left with is a strong and very insulated geodesic dome house for around $3,000. You can find SPF roofing kits if you’re a qualified contractor by looking on Amazon.